Washington Wizards NBA Trade Deadline 2017: Wizards Should Make Trade To Compete For NBA Championship

Feb 6, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) makes a move to the basket as he is fouled by Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) during the first quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 6, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) makes a move to the basket as he is fouled by Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) during the first quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Wizards are on the cusp of seriously competing for an NBA Championship. They could be one piece away from challenging the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Toronto Raptors sent a mini-shockwave to the basketball world earlier this week, acquiring Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic in exchange for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first round draft pick.

They were not the first Eastern Conference contender to make a move this season, though.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have already been received dividends from their acquisitions of Kyle Korver from the Atlanta Hawks and their signing of the recently released Derrick Williams.

With less than 30 games to go until the playoffs begin, we’re off to the races and contenders are doing their best to jockey themselves into an advantageous position heading towards the postseason.

So, where does that leave the Washington Wizards?

The Wizards are 28-10 over their last 38 games, a period of time that equates to 45% of the regular season.

Let me repeat that – for a stretch that covers 45% of the regular season – the Washington Wizards are playing at a 73% winning percentage, a percentage that would equate to a 60-win team over the course of a full regular season.

Teams go on runs and the schedule has to be factored in, but the Washington Wizards have a large enough sample size to be confident before the playoffs begin.

More from Wiz of Awes

Heading into the all-star break, they seem to have solidified themselves as one of the Eastern Conference’s primary challengers to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But for Washington to maintain that position, or better yet become a team that can potentially beat the Cavaliers in the playoffs, it may require something extra, and that something extra might be available before the upcoming trade deadline.

Before making a trade, the Washington Wizards’ front office should absolutely take into consideration what a trade could do to disrupt chemistry and the rotation.

We’ve already seen it in a glimpse with Ian Mahinmi’s returning to the rotation.

The Wizards have won the three games he’s been active for in his return, but the minutes with Mahinmi have been patchy at best.

He’s posted a plus/minus of -3, -13, and a -6 in three games versus the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

His return has altered what had become a regular rotation with Markieff Morris being subbed out early to return and anchor the second unit for the second quarter.

Mahinmi’s return took Kelly Oubre out of the small ball lineup alongside Otto Porter, took Morris out of his role with the second unit, and moved Jason Smith from the backup center to playing more backup power forward minutes.

The results have been mixed at best, as it’s forced Scott Brooks to rely on the starters to get bailed out.

Based on this, you’d think the Wizards would – or should – be hesitant to embrace the idea of adding a player at the trade deadline  According to Alex Kennedy with HoopsHype, however, the Wizards could be buyer’s.

If you’re a Washington Wizards fan, this should be music to your ears.

More from Wiz of Awes

If the Wizards are committed to adding a player at the deadline to enhance their chances towards advancing to the conference finals or perhaps even the NBA Finals, it would represent a shift to the paradigm that we’ve seen define the more recent Wizards teams.

The Wizards have done damage upon getting into the postseason, but the moves they’ve made in the past were done more to solidify a postseason appearance and cover a weakness.

Adding to the roster now would signify more.

What puts Washington in an advantageous position compared to what they’ve done in year’s past is that they are dealing from a position of strength this time around.

Last year they were desperate to improve the roster and make a playoff push and made a deal for Morris, trading away a lottery pick in doing so.  Morris has been a positive addition to the roster on a relatively cheap contract and as of late has been lights out on the floor.

They were, however, dealing from a position of weakness and had to make a move last season; a situation they aren’t in this time around.

Toronto was dealing from a position of weakness in their trade for Ibaka.

Since the calendar turned, the Toronto Raptors are 11-14 and have been sliding down the Eastern Conference Standings. Their frustrations were highlighted this past week with Kyle Lowry voicing displeasure.

The Raptors organization responded by trading for Ibaka, a trade that should absolutely help the team, but a trade that was made out of necessity and did require them to part with Ross, who was one of the team’s go-to scoring options.

Washington is in a different situation as they approach the deadline.

With both picks available to trade in the upcoming draft, they can maneuver to add to the roster, versus filling a void in what is already a formidable starting five.

The Washington Wizards could use their pick and a contract on the roster to add a bench piece that could turn a lesser weakness into strength without creating another weakness elsewhere.

The primary area of concern lies behind the starters and on the wing.

More from Wiz of Awes

The Wizards need scoring from a player who can anchor that unit, a player capable of filling the box score in an instant and taking pressure off of the starting backcourt.

That player doesn’t currently exist on the roster and its weakness that has often required John Wall and Bradley Beal to return to the court either sooner than maybe Brooks would like or have forced them back on the court in games where should have allowed them to rest for the entire fourth quarter.

If Ernie Grunfeld is able to acquire such a player without moving a member of the starting five and their top frontcourt reserves, it should allow them to integrate that player with much more ease.

Extra rest for the backcourt and scoring punch off the bench should also turn this team; a team that has been playing at a 60-win pace over the past 37 games into an even more formidable presence in the Eastern Conference and potentially a true contender to LeBron James’ reign in the Eastern Conference.

For the Washington Wizards organization and their fans, the time is now.

While draft picks are always valuable assets to have, this team is on the brink of potentially doing what no other Bullets/Wizards team has done since the 1978-1979 season – reach the conference finals.

The Wizards shouldn’t even settle there.

James is 32 and is in the middle of his 14th NBA season. His teams have represented the Eastern Conference in the finals for six consecutive seasons.

Next: Predicting a Wizards Trade Deadline Deal

At some point that streak will end and Washington is positioned as well as anyone else to be next in line in the Eastern Conference.